Things to do in Arequipa: Our Top Activities in Arequipa

August 13, 2018

Arequipa is a beautiful city full of activities and attractions for all travelers. Whether you wish to admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape, delve into the rich culture of the region or party until the morning hours, Arequipa has what you want. We are confident this list of things to do in Arequipa will help you figure out what you want to do most once you visit The White City! For more information on the city check out the Official Arequipa Website.

White Water Rafting Rio Chili Arequipa

White Water Rafting

As the number one rated activity to do in Arequipa on TripAdvisor, we highly recommend white water rafting on the Rio Chili. When it comes to white water rafting in Arequipa, whether you consider yourself an ‘outdoorsy’ person or not is irrelevant. There are a number of different operators that offer routes of varying difficulty and length, therefore this activity is suitable to almost everyone. The rush of the rapids on top of the breathtaking views along the Rio Chili easily secures this activity as one of our favorites in Arequipa.

Colca Canyon Tour

If the white water rafting is too fast paced or you would simply like more time to soak in the stunning scenes of Arequipa’s nature and wildlife, then you may prefer to take a colca canyon tour or trek. The tours offered are either 1 day or 2 days and 1 night and are usually around the $30 mark, with a mandatory official Colca Canyon entrance fee of 70 soles. What these tours entail is a local guide taking you through the canyon, visiting significant locations and scenery along the way. On a typical tour, soaring condor birds, local villages and alpacas are among the most popular attractions for travelers. These tours are in operation throughout the entire year and the level of physical ability required varies from tour to tour.

Arequipa City Center at Night

Alongside tours, treks are also available as a means of exploring the Colca Canyon. These treks last for 2 or 3 days and are a little more expensive than the tours, priced at around $40/50 along with the 70 soles entrance fee. The treks offer a more immersive experience of the canyon, sleeping in rustic lodges and learning the ways of a local guide. There are also a number of activities on these treks such as:

  • Viewing the condor birds in flight
  • Honey-making
  • Visiting archaeological sites
  • Hot Springs
  • National reserve
  • Visit local villages
  • See llamas & alpacas

With some of the most stunning sites in Peru, the Colca Canyon is always rated highly by visitors. For this reason, it is most definitely up there with our best things to do in Arequipa. Either as a tour or trek, you will not regret seeing this magnificent site.

Things to do in Arequipa: Free Walking Tour

There are numerous ways to explore Arequipa but we feel that one of the best ways is simply by walking through the city. There are a number of free walking tours offered throughout the city that provide a deep insight into the history and culture of the city. The guides that offer most of these tours are both qualified and licensed and speak Spanish and English. While guiding you through the streets of Arequipa, the guide will point out the most historically and archaeologically significant landmarks and buildings of the city. As well as being free, some of these tours can actually save you money! A number of deals and discounts are offered on numerous hotels and restaurants throughout the city. Between the rich knowledge gained through these walking tours, the discounts and deals, this is most definitely one of our top picks for things to do in Arequipa.


There are a wide range of interesting museums throughout Arequipa that are frequented by thousands of tourists each day. Some of these museums have been preserved or are preserving objects from the past in order to showcase different areas of Arequipa’s history and heritage. If you’re thinking of visiting museums while in Arequipa, then you should have a look at this list that we have compiled of our favourite museums:

St. Catherine Monastery

This monastery was built in 1579 and was funded by an extremely wealthy widow, Maria de Guzman. The monastery spans over 20,000 square metres and most of the building is now a paid tourist attraction. However, there are still 20 nuns that live in the northern corner of the monastery. Tickets to enter the monastery cost approximately 40 soles and inside, there are guides who offer tours for around 20 soles.

Monastery Arequipa

Museo de Arte Virreinal Santa Teresa

This is a 17th century Carmelite convent that is open to the public. Inside the convent, intricate metalwork, colonial-era paintings and many other historical artifacts can be found. The nuns also make and sell a range of baked goods to sell to any hungry visitors! Admission costs between 5 soles (student) and 20 soles (general).

Cathedral of Arequipa

The first church was constructed in the main square in 1544 by the architect Pedro Godinez. Pope Pius XII elevated the cathedral to the category of minor basilica because it was considered to be “a temple of regal splendor, raised with an outstanding profile; that is architectonically important”. Within the cathedral are many valuable objects that showcase its history of over 400 years.

Museo Santuarios Andinos

In this museum, you will find the preserved, frozen body of a 12-15 year old Inca girl. The girl in the museum (known as Juanita) was sacrificed to the Gods on the Ampato volcano during the reign of the Inca Empire and was found in 1995. The guided tour in the museum is compulsory and free, although a tip is expected. The duration of the tour is approximately 1 hour and it is offered in Spanish, English and French.

There you go! This list of our favorite things to do in Arequipa will help you plan the perfect visit to this fantastic city! We highly recommend using to book activities and trips in Arequipa as it ensures quality and safety of the service provided. Safe travels and enjoy the beautiful White City!

Did you know - The Lima Walking Tour leaves from the Tourist Information Center at 799 Avenida Jose Larco in Miraflores every day at 10:15 am. Visit our Blog for more information!

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